5 Offbeat Travel Destinations in Southeast Asia

Crater lake, taal lake, taal volcano

Southeast Asia is so much more than an oasis of Chinese culture. Its unique  landscapes and hidden islands are waiting to be discovered by mainstream tourism, and until that happens, it will be sure to please any travel-lusting wanderer. The isolation of  its beauty is perhaps what sets it apart from every place else in the world.

I originally wrote about these 5 undiscovered places in Southeast Asia as a guest post for GotSaga.

5. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

There is nothing like a rejuvenating getaway amid turquoise waters and white sands. Add to that snorkeling in an underwater world of sharks, smoking shisha on the beach under the stars, riding a speedboat on low tide under the moonlight, and an upbeat atmosphere created by half a dozen small cafes serving up the most delicious milkshakes.

Perhentian Island, offbeat, southeast asia
Flickr image by papaija2008

4. Taal Volcano, Philippines

Welcome to a volcano within a lake within a volcano within another lake! Hidden somewhere among the clouds, Taal Volcano is the world’s smallest active volcano, located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Tagytay City affords you breathtaking views of this natural wonder, while a climb up the volcano (strictly for the brave-hearted) can take you to the lake inside the volcano’s own crater, aptly called the Crater Lake.

Taal Volcano
Taal Volcano. Flickr image by Storm Crypt

Crater lake, taal lake, taal volcano

Crater Lake. Flickr image by deckchuaFurther reading:
Tagaytay City, Philippines

3. Bunaken Island, Indonesia

It’s easy to lose yourself in this diving haven. Perhaps its remoteness is what makes it so desirable; you can lie on a hammock for days at end, watching the mist play hide & seek with the Manado Tua volcano. You can ride atop the roof of a speedboat at sunset, looking at the most magnificent sky. You can spends days exploring the beauty in an untouched underwater kingdom. And never once will you feel away from home in Bunaken.

Bunaken, Indonesia, Manado, Offbeat, Southeast asia

Further reading:
Bunaken: of blue seas & anonymity.

2. Halong on Land, Vietnam

You have probably heard of the natural wonder that is Halong Bay. If you dare, take a step into the lesser known north-west where a greater wonder awaits you; what locals dearly call the Halong experience on land. You’ll see landscapes stunning enough to trick you into thinking that you’ve entered the backdrop of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Halong on land, north west vietnam

Halong on land, north west vietnam, offbeat, southeast asia

Further reading:
Halong Bay|misty.mysterious.magical
The untouched gems of Vietnam

1. East Timor

Make your own trail in East Timor aka Timor-Leste, because there is none to follow. Contrary to accusations of being unsafe, the locals are welcoming & hospitable, and indeed the real charm of a country that has existed for less than 10 years. Its best-kept secrets include a host of lovely beaches and a beautiful countryside, and there’s no better time to visit than now.

East timor, southeast asia, offbeat

Which of these have you been to? Have you stumbled across any other hidden gems?

Also read: 5 weekend getaways from Singapore to pamper you

To read & share more travel stories, join me on Facebook & Twitter.

Get Paid To Travel

Similar Posts


  1. Wow these places look awesome…I guess you should start a travel blog…I am sure it will be a super hit……Its great to know places that are untouched but are beautiful and when you are there you feel like you are in nature’s arm…

    Lovely post 🙂

  2. Thanks Valerine! I’m too attached to this blog to abandon it for another one, so for now, I’m trying to integrate travel blogging here 🙂

  3. I’ve been very lucky to visit all of the above destinations, so I can only agree with you on these 5 spots. They’re all wonderful! Ahhh…great memories are coming back to me right now 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. That is really lucky Nisa 🙂 I’m transported to one of these places each time I revisit this post. Glad got some of your memories back too!

  4. Roy Marvelous says:

    Looks stunning! I’ll be visiting South East Asia next year, so these tips will be great!

  5. Nice post. Great to see someone trying to escape the tourist trail. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Oliver, it’ll only get harder as time goes by, but we’ve got to make the best of what we have 🙂

  6. Asia Travel Fan says:

    Taal Volcano, Philippines is really interesting….and not that far from Manila. It’s definitely worth the side trip. Very unique natural phenomenon!

    1. It is! Unfortunately I couldn’t trek up the volcano to the lake because it was completely covered in mist the day we were supposed to go & declared unsafe, but the views were spectacular!

      1. Hi..Its Avisek from India..Good to know about the sopts.Can someone sugget me how to be there (Perhentian Islands) from India

        1. You’ll have to fly to Kuala Lumpur and take a bus from there I believe.

  7. Pingback: 3 Indulgent Spa Getaways in Malaysia. | The Shooting Star
  8. Love this list! As we prepare to head to India then Southeast Asia this list will come in handy! Love following your blog – keep up the great work!

  9. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that
    they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the
    whole thing without having side-effects , people
    could take a signal. Will probably be back to
    get more. Thanks

  10. Pingback: 5 Offbeat Travel Destinations in Southeast Asia | The Shooting Star | I am Nilesh Babu
  11. Thanks for the great suggestions! They look like great places to visit 🙂

  12. “Add to that snorkeling in an underwater world of sharks, smoking shisha on the beach under the stars, riding a speedboat on low tide under the moonlight, and an upbeat atmosphere created by half a dozen small cafes serving up the most delicious milkshakes.”

    Wow. You pretty much described my last two trip to the Perhentian Islands!

  13. Nice blog.. Good job.. Thank you so much for the information. They look very interesting places to visit once in a lifetime. Keep writing !!!

  14. Love this post. Perhentian Island is my favorite one. It’s beautiful.

  15. Love this list. I got married in Tagaytay last month..it’s actually a top wedding destination and weekend go-to for locals:)

  16. Nice, I love the list you provided, keep it up

  17. kalseabtak77 says:

    really helpful content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *